Metals Service

metal-structureThe transport, fate, exposure, and toxic effects of heavy metals is a primary focus of research at the Center. The Metals Service provides metals analytical capabilities to biomedical and non-biomedical researchers and serves as a source for study design consultation and sample QA/QC requirements.


◊  Consultation: Dr. Weisskopf , the Service Director, and Dr. Specht, are available for advice on the types of analyses needed for an upcoming study or grant submission. They also work with Center Members on method development for new initiatives, and provide advice on sample collection, sample preservation, archiving, shipping, and customs issues.

◊  Portable X-ray Fluorescence
The laboratory uses a Thermo Fisher Niton XL3t GOLDD+ portable x-ray fluorescence device with an integrated Si drift detector and 2-watt x-ray tube up to 50 kV. Portable x-ray fluorescence is a technique for elemental analysis of bulk in-tact samples from the parts per million to percent level concentrations. The device is handheld and battery operated, which is ideal for field studies. The device can also be used for in vivo measurements of metal biomarkers in population studies with the primary example being bone metal measurements.

◊  External Services: For specialized analyses not available at the HSPH laboratory, the Metals Service staff can provide guidance with locating services and through established partnerships with laboratories at other institutions, can often provide NIEHS Center researchers with discounted pricing.

How to Access Services

The Trace Metals Laboratory operates as a modified fee-for-service laboratory. Researchers have the option of having the samples run by the Service staff, or of receiving instruction (for themselves or a doctoral or post doctoral trainee) on how to operate the analytical equipment and analyze their own samples.  Both options have associated fees and, as with other services, facility access funds can be requested internal or external services when individual grant support is not yet available.


For information on service fees, schedules and instruction, and for study consultation:

Metals Service Director, Marc Weisskopf, 617-384-8872

Trace Metals Lab,  Aaron Specht,  or via Jeff Adams 617-384-8871